Graphene Nanoribbons as a Drug Delivery Agent for Lucanthone Mediated Therapy of Glioblastoma Multiforme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report use of PEG-DSPE coated oxidized graphene nanoribbons (O-GNR-PEG-DSPE) as agent for delivery of anti-tumor drug Lucanthone (Luc) into Glioblastoma Multiformae (GBM) cells targeting base excision repair enzyme APE-1 (Apurinic endonuclease-1). Lucanthone, an endonuclease inhibitor of APE-1, was loaded onto O-GNR-PEG-DSPEs using a simple non-covalent method. We found its uptake by GBM cell line U251 exceeding 67% and 60% in APE-1-overexpressing U251, post 24 h. However, their uptake was ~ 38% and 29% by MCF-7 and rat glial progenitor cells (CG-4), respectively. TEM analysis of U251 showed large aggregates of O-GNR-PEG-DSPE in vesicles. Luc-O-GNR-PEG-DSPE was significantly toxic to U251 but showed little/no toxicity when exposed to MCF-7/CG-4 cells. This differential uptake effect can be exploited to use O-GNR-PEG-DSPEs as a vehicle for Luc delivery to GBM, while reducing nonspecific cytotoxicity to the surrounding healthy tissue. Cell death in U251 was necrotic, probably due to oxidative degradation of APE-1.

Graphical abstract

We used O-GNR-PEG-DSPE as a reliable, non-toxic vehicle for delivery of APE-1 inhibiting Lucanthone into GBM tumor cell lines. LUC-O-GNR-PEG-DSPE particles showed 60% or more uptake by CMV/U251 and A1-5/CMV/U251 where as the uptake by MCF7 and normal CG4 glial cells was much lower (38% and 29% respectively). Different concentrations of Luc (5–80 μM) loaded onto O-GNR-PEG-DSPE showed lower toxicity in the exposed cells compared to the free drug, due to possible slow release of the drug from this particle, which ensures minimum non-specific release of the drug from the particle once it is injected in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-118
JournalNanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date12 Aug 2014
Publication statusEarly online date - 12 Aug 2014


  • Nanoparticles, Graphene, Glioblastoma, Drug delivery, Tumor sensitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Drug Discovery


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